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Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Old Girls Move Out

The original plan was to move the laying hens out of the hoophouse and onto the pasture around April 15th. But the snow didn't leave and the grass didn't come and they had to stay another two weeks.

Before they could move, we needed to outfit a chicken pen with nestboxes so that they could lay their eggs in the straw-lined comfort they have become accustomed to.

John built five nestboxes on each side of a 10 foot by 10 foot pen.

We had to catch the hens in the hoophouse. There are no pictures of that because it took both of us and it was still a circus!

All 38 of them love their new home, they started eating grass right away!

Kiddo1 helped me line the nestboxes with straw.

Then we carefully placed one egg in each nestbox. This fools the chickens into thinking that another hen layed her egg here so it must be a safe place. Within a day or two, all the chickens will have layed an egg in a box and it will be routine.

These pens will be moved every day to fresh grass. It should only take 10 days for the rich orange color to return to their yolks...I can't wait!

The New Chicks Move In!

On Thursday morning we received a call from the post office saying that our chicks were here!

Yes, the chicks come in the mail from Iowa. They are hatched and packed into boxes on Wednesday morning and we get them Thursday morning.

So we loaded up the boat to go get them

The kids were excited to open the box and see what was peeping in there! (We have to open the box at the post office to have the post mistress certify if there is any death loss.)

Henry didn't want to touch them right away, but he sure liked it when dad held them.

Jana was in love at first peep.

We brought them home in the boat. Jana wanted them sitting right next to her. We wrapped them in a coat to keep them warm.

This is the brooder before we added the chicks. It's an old stock tank that works great in our garage. The tank keeps the drafts away and allows the heat to remain where the chicks are.

There are 75 Black Australorp pullets (girls) in there! The future laying hens of Morning Joy Farm.

As each one is taken from the box, I have to dip its beak in the water and make sure it swallows. From then on they know how and where to get a drink. The food is natural, they know how to do that.

A close-up of one of the girls.

There's a feed pan under there somewhere...I told you it was natural!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Just going for a walk

Five years ago when I first drove over the hill on this little township road and saw the beautiful landscape that my boyfriend lived on, I gasped. A lovely lake surrounded by rolling hills, it was perfect! I could see myself living there and in just over a year...I was!

I firmly maintain that no one has a better view when they garden than I do. Sparkling water, the associated wildlife, it's gorgeous!

But, on occasion, that beauty turns against me.

There is a road under there...honest!

The two small dots on the horizon are our vehicles. We are walking 1/2 mile through two fields to get to them. And we've been doing it for three weeks, including Easter morning for sunrise service! (We started walking at dawn.)

When Kiddo3 and I go to work, John and the big kids come out to meet us! (And it almost makes the walk worthwhile.)

As much as this is inconvenient, I would rather have to walk to my car and have my house be high and dry. Which it is. Thank goodness.

We've been told we are "on-the-list" for building up our road. We've submitted all the required paperwork, photos and documentation. Now we just wait.

But, good news!! The ice is gone and now we can use the boat. I'm sure I'll have pictures of that...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

HoopCoop Tour 2011

No, I'm sorry to disappoint. The HoopCoop Tour isn't a giant rock concert. It's your way to see our hoophouse chicken coop and how much we and the chickens love it. Enjoy!